Everyone is familiar with internet behemoths such as Uber and Airbnb which are better known as marketplaces. A marketplace connects people who have products or services to sell, hire or lease via an online platform. Entrepreneurs seeking to establish an online marketplace should be aware of their legal obligations, including those under the Australian Consumer Law and the Privacy Act. We are committed to providing high-quality and accessible legal advice, to explain these obligations to you plainly and to help you comply.

Our lawyers can assist you with setting up an online marketplace, by:

  • preparing your marketplace terms and conditions;
  • drafting your website’s terms of use and privacy policy;
  • advising on payment models;
  • registering your business name and domain name;
  • applying to register any trade marks; and
  • providing business structuring advice.

Our online business team is pragmatic, fast and collaborative. We assign a legal project manager specialising in marketplaces and online business to work closely with you during the process of setting up your online marketplace. This collaborative approach enables us to provide high-quality advice and unmatched client experience so you can build your business on a firm foundation.

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5 Things You Need to Know About Online Community and Marketplaces

  • 1Operating a marketplace and tapping into the ‘sharing’ economy are popular business models. Successful marketplaces such as Airbnb and Odesk seek to commercialise assets that would otherwise remain unused. Marketplaces involve complex legal relationships, so it is important that you have the right legal documents and legal structure in place.
  • 2When running an online marketplace, you enter into two legal relationships: one with buyers, and one with sellers. It’s important to understand whether your business is facilitating a third and separate legal relationship between the buyers and sellers in the marketplace and to clarify in your marketplace terms and conditions that you are not responsible for this relationship.
  • 3Websites and online marketplaces both deal with a considerable amount of intellectual property. Your terms and conditions need to address your content, any content from buyers and any content from sellers. Your buyers and sellers must agree to provide true and correct information and to uphold their obligations. As an example, sellers must provide the article to the buyer, and buyers must pay the amount agreed in the timeframe agreed.
  • 4Running an online community or marketplace will require you to capture a significant amount of personal information from your users. It’s important that you comply with the Privacy Act. In particular, make sure that your website has a compliant Privacy Policy.
  • 5Finally, make sure that you provide visitors to your site with a set of website terms of use. These are separate to your marketplace/ community terms, and form the legal relationship between you and your visitors.